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Becoming a Part of My History

Becoming a Part of My History by Andres Armijo serves as a perfect model for anyone interested in knowing about themselves and their world through research into genealogy and photographic collections. This book is a personal journey into the author's past, but it is also a fascinating account of family life in New Mexico, neighborhoods in Albuquerque, the rites and rituals of Hispanos, how a family through the ages pictured itself, and how all this information and reflection enlightens the author-"Everything is Illuminated," while it educates and entertains the reader. This is an original and creative approach to personal and local history.-Peter White, Professor of English and American Studies, University of New Mexico One of the great truths in life is that to know what we've come from lets us know ourselves better and helps us determine where we're going. It is such a search that Andres Armijo describes in Becoming a Part of My History: Through Images and Stories of My Ancestors. It is replete with charming anecdotes that remind us of our own family stories. It is enriched with photographs of several generations of family, a photographic genealogy rare in studies of one's ancestors. It can be enjoyed by anyone interested in their own and other families' histories. A gem of a book.-Nash Candelaria, novelist, short story writer In viewing photos ofnuevomexicanos held in the National Archives, I was always struck by the fact that the names of the subjects were never included; they were identified dryly as "Spanish American women baking bread," or "Spanish American male driving a wagon." Impersonal, deracinated, objectified. Andres Armijo's visual chronicle of his familia is a response to that colonizing act of reduction. With a profound sensibility of love and respect, he unfolds before our eyes and our hearts the history of his clan in this splendid book that comprises a blend of historical fact, physical description, cultural analysis, existential musings and, of course, photographs that record names and details, thus rendering his ancestors flesh and blood agents in the making of their familial and cultural history. In sharing this very personal album, Armijo eschews the potential sentimentality or narcissism of journeys of self-discovery as he strives to understand his place in a broader collective history that belongs not only to his family but to all nuevomexicanos. Almost two decades ago, when Andres with his cara de angel enrolled in one of my heritage language classes at UNM, I immediately recognized a thirst for cultural knowledge rare among his peers. This jewel fulfills my intuition that his passion for his cultural legacy would lead to something grand.-Erlinda Gonzales-Berry, Professor Emerita University of New Mexico & Oregon State University Armijo's book is a new take on the story of photography in Nuevo Mexico, the importance of familia. His critical exploration takes us beyond the snapshot to more fully understand it. The family album, and the shoeboxes of pictures, become a place where deep and compelling meanings can be found and recovered. Photographs that have been generally forgotten provide a unique window into the past. Armijo's book leads us into those images and helps us find new ways to examine the deeper meaning of New Mexico's rich visual history.-Miguel Gandert, Photographer and Professor of Communication and Journalism, University of New Mexico"
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